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HOLLINGSWORTH SCHOOL* Upon looking over the plans of the many new School buildings in Philadelphia, now in process of erection, one will be impressed at a glance with the Hollingsworth School, in the eighth ward. Having visited this School, the visitor will be struck at once with the completeness and adaptability of the edi. fice for its purposes, and upon close inspection, he will be satisfied that it is a model in all its detail, well worthy of imitation. This School should be visited in order that its simplicity, its economy and utility may be thoroughly comprehended. It seems to combine all the principles to which reference has been made. I now proceed to give a close description of all its parts, and to comment upon all points which strike us as specially worthy of note.
The Hollingsworth School is named after Thomas G. Hollingsworth, who was connected with the Public Schools of Philadelphia from their institution till his death in advanced years—a fitting tribute to one who was a faithful public servant, and who did his whole duty in his generation.
The cellars are well closed in, and the ceiling joists lathed and plastered. Frequently this important feature in public buildings and private dwellings is disregarded, and consequently the first story is cold in winter, unless heated at an unnecessary expense. A cold floor, though of boards, is not unlike one of stone in winter. Measured coal bins are built in the cellar, by which it can be fairly ascertained whether the coal is correct in quantity. A portion of the front pavement is excavated to enable the deposit of coal directly from the carts. In the cellars are located the steam furnaces, the ventilating stove for summer use, and the various radiating surfaces to generate warm air directly under the rooms designed to be heated.
Inside walls throughout the building are of brick; the face work of rubble, neatly jointed and pointed with Portland cement. It is common to use various coloring matters with the cement to mark the contrast between the stone and pointing more decidedly. Whatever effect this may produce to the eye, it is un. wise, as all coloring material destroys the adhesivness and cohesiveness, and in time falls out, crumbles, and opens the joints to absorption of moisture. The cement however, uncolored, becomes as hard as the rocks it binds together, and is an enduring protection. The stone used as facing is laid as it comes from the quarries, the flat side outward, and requires no dressing, except when used as quoins and corners. It is readily laid, and, when judgment is used, binds well; and in walls thus built, the spalls are serviceable to fill interstices, so that no portion of the stone is lost. Rubble work as used in this School has proven to be about twenty-five per cent. cheaper than a pressed brick front, and certainly is warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
The areas to cellar windows are paved with brick, and capped with heavy North River flagging, covered with heavy iron bars as gratings. This latter is essential to guard against accidents to small children, who seem to seek dan. gerous places.
The window and door sills are all of granite or brown stone, and windows
* This building is planned largely upon the points and suggestions of Edward Shippen, Esq., President of the Board, after much observation by him of School edifices, and much practical nttention for many years to public School-houses. by John C. Sidney, Esq., of Philadelphia, an architect who has given much study to the subject of School Architecture.
and door heads of Leiperville stone, affording a better protection to walls in case of fire than if made of wood.
The iron columns hereafter referred to rest on square stones twelve inches by twelve inches, and four thick, set upon eighteen inch walls.
Wells are emptied into sewer through twelve inch terra cotta pipes, into which all yard and roof water passes for purpose of cleansing.
The importance of height of ceiling can not be over-estimated. Fourteen feet in the clear is not too much, and though the number of steps to each story is increased as the height of ceiling is increased, yet by a judicious arrangement of two flights and platform to each story, that objection ceases to have weight. For children's use the risers should never be more than six and a half inches, and tread twelve inches, one and one-fourth inches thick nosed.
To prevent the danger to small children from sliding on the stair-rail, a simple preventative is used in this building. A neatly devised screw with conical bead projecting about half an inch above the rail, set in at distances of three feet apart, very soon admonish the sliding boys that the pastime is more comfortable in the omission than in the observance of the same.
This building is admirably arranged in the matter of stairways, all judiciously located and capable for any emergency, and most convenient for class-roomssix in number and all well lighted.
Each class-room is furnished with convenient clothes-rooms, fitted with double hooks. An observer will ordinarily find about one-half of the clothes-hooks broken from ill usage, and therefore it is most essential that they be constructed so as to bear the rough usage of children; so in fact should all the hardware in the School-house be. In this building, the hardware has been selected with special reference to utility and school-boy usage.
The closets are open at the top for drying and ventilating purposes, and the doors of the same for the same reason are kept three inches above the floor.
The casing of window jambs is an unnecessary expense, provided the same are rough floated as is hereafter specified. In fact, the less moulding and woodwork in a School-house, the better. The washboards and architraves should be as simple as possible; mouldings only give receptacles for dust, are of no practical use, and beadings are generally for the same reason unwise, and besides are difficult to keep clean. In doors, however, modest moulding is perhaps desirable for appearance sake. Architraves and washboards look well if simply planed and beveled on both edges; they are easily painted, dusted or scrubbed, and are by no means unseemly.
Wainscoting in class-rooms may well be avoided by the rough plastering referred to. With care on the part of the architect in preparing specifications, a very large amount of material in woodwork and labor may be avoided.
In preparing doors, it should be borne in mind that they are destined for hard usage; and that therefore they should be well made and thick; inside doors not less than two inches. A parlor door may be opened a dozen times a daya school-room door slammed by each of fifty children ten times a day. The hardware for doors should be well selected, especially where mortice locks are used. Porcelain knobs should never be used, but doors should latch with the old-fashioned substantial thumb latch. The lock need have no knob therefore. A well made fine tumbler dead-lock, with escutcheon, is all that is needed where a thumb latch is used. And we may observe that no School needs more
than one lock for an outside door. This should be on the front and most exposed door, and it alone should have a knob. Other outer doors are better double bolted inside. The mortice lock and latch will not stand School use.
Inside roller blinds without boxes are preferable to outside, being more convenient and less exposed to the weather. Each fold should be cut in the centre except the one next to the frame, and be furnished with bronze or japanned fastenings, and so should be all fastenings and iron trimmings in the building, to be free from rust. Gilt and brass should be avoided.
Wainscoting is only needed where there is incessant passing, as in halls and stairways, provided the walls have the third coat of plaster of sharp pure sand washed clear and floated down hard. And in fact so should all the plastering be done throughout the building, save the ceilings; the effect is pretty, the walls will not change color por receive pencil marks, and may be readily whitewashed or painted if at any time needed.
All outside walls should be stripped to prevent dampness before the plaster lath is put on.
Yard hydrant should be fitted with screw nozzles for hose attachment.
All glass should be well bedded and back-puttied; with bedding, all rattling of glass is avoided.
Before proceeding to a detailed statement of the points which present themselves, it is well to present several general features, which appear to be most striking and worthy of special comment.
1. The distribution of space and excellent arrangement of halls and entrances. 2. The lighting of the building. 3. The ventilating and heating.
It has been wisely concluded to avoid a fourth story building, and though a third story is added to the front, yet the rear has but two; so that the two first stories, containing eighteen rooms, will accommodate nine hundred children, and the third story front two hundred more-eleven hundred in all; and this is as many children as should be thrown together in one building.
There are nine class-rooms on each floor, so arranged that each has direct light from two sides, while they have also borrowed light from other sides through glass sash. This most desirable end can be obtained in the ordinary square buildings only in corner rooms—say in four rooms—while in the School in question, there is no one of the eighteen rooms without it.
A glance at the plan will at once explain how by means of adding corners or projections, windows can be furnished for each room on two sides, no matter how many rooms in one story. Besides being a service in the matter of light, the plan also aids in the natural system of ventilation.
The halls are cornered so as to form the letter T; at the bottom of the T is the main entrance, and at the other ends, the side entrances, and as arranged in the Hollingsworth School, there can be a direct circulation of air from North to South, and from East to West, most serviceable in Summer.
The sliding sash before referred to are hung upon iron rails, securely fastened to the girders. Upon these rails the sash doors, fitted with pulleys, are easily glided into their respective casements, and are guided at the bottom by bolts which run along the floor grooves cut transversely over the fooring; they roll almost noiselessly. The whole arrangement is very simple, and durable.
The heating by steam and the ventilation are under one contract. It